‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ saves Sony’s bacon (just don’t you dare mention the writer’s ‘slavery’ sucker punch)

There are times when I wish that I never made the leap to YouTube and instead stayed on my little old blog churning out content for people who understand things like nuance. My reaction to Spider-Man: Homecoming highlighted that fact quite nicely yesterday.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger said that he loves the movie and wants people to see it, but that a weird scene involving “MJ’s” comment on slavery was a social justice-y sucker punch out of nowhere. I then used that scene to discuss real-world “MJ’s” populating college campuses and influential circles of activists across the nation.

Translation:Doug is an SJW! Doug is triggered! Doug can’t enjoy anything that includes a whiff of SJW politics.”


Below are my videos on the old web-head’s return to the big screen. As always, if you enjoy the content then be sure to subscribe. And if you too think I’ve gone full “SJW” then go for it in the comments section. Let me know! I find this conclusion fascinating.

Here is the full review with one major spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film.

Renew Your Vows #3: Annie May Parker shines in spotlight

Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman continue to roll with Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3. If you’re looking for a Spider-Man book worth picking up, then this is the one. It’s not perfect, but the energy and enthusiasm the creative team brings to the book more than makes up for any editorial hiccups.

Check out my latest YouTube video below and let me know what you think of the issue, particularly my one minor gripe on the company’s continued habit of inserting political correctness across the line.

Renew Your Vows #1: Conway, Stegman give fans the Peter Parker they have deserved for years

It’s here — The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. There is much to say on this issue (and I may do up a full re-write in the near future), but my latest YouTube review should suffice for now. Check it out and let me know what you think of Gerry Conway’s and Ryan Stegman’s work in the comments section below.

Finally — finally — the throngs of fans who hated One More Day get the Peter Parker they deserve. Huzzah!

Spider-Man movies called ‘white-boy fantasy’: The Root writer says Zendaya casting not ‘progress’

Jason Johnson

The Root bills itself as an “opinion and culture site for African-American influencers,” which works out nicely because I was recently looking to see what such self-proclaimed individuals were saying about Zendaya’s role as MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It turns out that Spider-Man is a “white-boy fantasy” and nothing you ever do is good enough for “influencers” like Jason Johnson.

Mr. Johnson wrote on Aug. 23 for The Root’s “No, Zendaya in Spider-Man: Homecoming Is Not the Progress We’re Looking For”:

Consequently, the announcement that she’s been cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s long-term love interest, Mary Jane, in Spider-Man: Homecoming next year has given many people all sorts of excitement and feels. I am not one of them. Casting Zendaya as Mary Jane is another example of Hollywood expecting black dollars at the box office, but disrespecting black consumers and fans on the big screen. …

Zendaya’s casting is yet another sign that makers of Hollywood sci-fi fantasy action films will “racebend” a character (change a character’s race from what it was in a book, film or cartoon), slap themselves on the back for being progressive and expect black fans to be satisfied, while pretty much maintaining the status quo. Racebending is fine so long as it’s for girlfriends and sidekicks, but the movies are still white-boy fantasy adventures in which the lead remains a straight white male no matter what. And that unfortunate fact can’t be separated from the choice to cast Zendaya as Mary Jane.

There was never a doubt or even a conversation about casting anyone other than a white man as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or the Incredible Hulk. Even though Iron Man was black in the early 1980s, the first Captain America was a black man, and Thor as a Norse God could be anybody.

Are you a young comic book fan who is on the ideological fence? If so, then consider the psychology on display with Zendaya’s casting:

  • If you think movie producers should try to adhere as closely as possible to the source material, then liberal guys like Dan Slott will imply that you are a racist.
  • If you think movie producers should try to adhere as closely as possible to the source material, then liberal guys like director James Gunn will say that you have “too good of a life.”
  • If you think movie producers should try to adhere as closely as possible to the source material, then liberal guys like Devin Faraci of the website Birth. Movies. Death. will call you a “racist fanboy.”
  • Conservative guys like me will shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, but Zendaya may still be pretty good. As long as she tints her hair red then we should just give the girl a chance.”
  • Meanwhile, liberals like Jason Johnson will mock you for your “white-boy fantasy” even if you do give Zendaya’s casting three cheers for diversity. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Welcome to a life of Kobayashi Maru-type scenarios if you board the USS Social Justice.

As your friendly neighborhood blogger has said on numerous occasions, social-justice obsessives are never satisfied. Any attempt to placate them will only result in additional admonitions that require an apology, new demands to meet without question, and more rules that undoubtedly conflict with a sub-group of professional victims someplace else.

Between now and the July release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, I implore anyone who is still trying to define their ideological identity to conduct a test: Come to this blog and disagree with me just to see how I react. Then, do the same with liberal writers like Dan Slott or Nick Spencer. By the time your favorite wall-crawler returns to theaters, I am confident that you will no longer be on the fence.

Amazing Spider-Man #15: Dan Slott’s Regent took down a god, then falls to … Mary Jane

Mary Jane Iron Spider

It is a good bet that when Marvel writer Dan Slott was a kid that he was the one who always changed the rules of whatever game he was playing with friends. The Amazing Spider-Man #15 is a perfect example of a story crumbling into a schizophrenic mess because the writer altered established realities to get to a desired end.

Readers last left their beloved web-slinger knowing that he and Iron Man were defeated at the hands of Regent. The same villain who defeated a god — She-Thor — Vision, Wolverine, Captain America, Daredevil, Deadpool, Human Torch and countless other superheroes (and villains), also took down Peter Parker and Tony Stark.

Regent has been established as a force to be reckoned with, right? Keep that in mind as we move forward with this review.

Here is what you need to know for ASM #15:

  • The Avengers are defeated. Heroes everywhere are missing. Regent is on the brink of victory.
  • Mary Jane decides to suit up in Peter’s old “Iron Spider” costume because … she once wore an old Iron Man suit and temporarily had spider-powers. Her plan is to take on Regent by herself.
  • Harry Osborn Lyman, captured and contained in one of Regent’s holding tanks, uses new Webware technology that he “just had Clayton [install]” (how convenient) to escape. Sound waves from Harry’s glorified iWatch shatter glass that can hold She-Thor.
  • Peter, encased in a bubble, distracts Regent so Iron Spider-MJ can sucker punch him. The distraction bursts his psychic bubbles and the previously defeated and fatigued Spider-Man springs into action. The three have a déjà vu moment.
  • Spider-Man leaves to save Harry while M.J. and Iron Man continue to fight.
  • Miles Morales is freed and his instant-win venom blast takes out Dr. Stillwell.

Miles Morales ASM 15

  • An army of superheroes are released and Regent acknowledges defeat. He is then confined within his own prison.
  • MJ, Tony, and Jarvis have a private party with champagne (Tony, understandably, does not drink).
  • Peter, the billionaire CEO of Parker Industries, throws a party for his friends … at a coffee shop. Bobbi Morse is introduced to Aunt May and Jay Jameson collapses after coughing up blood.

ASM #15 fails because Dan Slott sets precedents and then disregards them when it suits his needs. He pens stories for an older-skewing audience, but then expects the average reader to accept deviations from established rules like a child.

Regent SheThor

To add insult to injury, fans of the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane are punched in the gut at least twice.

  1. Spider-Man tells Tony: “[Peter] only realized he’d lost MJ after she moved on. You better not make the same mistake.”
  2. Peter essentially introduces Mockingbird to Aunt May as his new girlfriend (Whatever happened to the girlfriend who tried to murder him?)

The fact of the matter is not that Mary Jane “moved on” — it’s that Marvel’s editors and Dan Slott are telling readers to move on.

The message is clear: “Stop spitting up Tom Brevoort’s medicine. Take it. The beatings will continue until morale improves!”

If you want to see some stunning cover art by Alex Ross, then make sure to buy ASM #15.

If you don’t require a writer to stick to his own set of rules as long as characters are punching each other and “zany” hijinks ensue, then buy ASM #15.

If, however, you expect writers to offer creative cohesion and linear logic, which can easily be traced to acceptable premises, then you might want to read Charles Soule’s Daredevil instead.

Amazing Spider-Man #12: Slott’s Peter Parker impotent, Alpha Stark cradles MJ

SpiderMan IronMan

The introduction to the 12th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man informs readers that Peter Parker has returned to New York City to “breathe a sigh of relief” after his recent showdown with the Zodiac terrorist organization. Indeed, writer Dan Slott then goes on to provide a palate-cleanser in the form of an old-school team-up between Spider-Man and Iron Man. It’s generally a fun tale that includes the return of Mary Jane, plenty of action and humor, and set-ups for Marvel’s Civil War II and the return of Regent. Mr. Slott’s fundamental misunderstanding of who Peter Parker is, however, needlessly produces a character who is socially impotent and politically aligned with his adversary.

The story goes as follows:

  • Parker Industries is hosting a black tie event to raise money for the Uncle Ben Foundation.
  • Tony Stark and his personal assistant, Mary Jane, are in attendance.
  • Augustus Roman (aka, Regent) of Empire Unlimited shows up.
  • Corporate saboteur “Ghost” crashes the party.
  • Spider-Man and Iron Man team up to save the day.
  • Roman’s facility for super-powered criminals, The Cellar, is introduced.

If you are the type of reader who mindlessly consumes comic books like I devour chocolate-covered raisins before a big-budget movie, then stop reading now and buy ASM #12.

If you are the type of reader who wonders why Peter Parker so often does not seem right under Mr. Slott’s direction, then read on. You may want to save that $4.00 for another book — perhaps the next issue of Charles Soule’s Daredevil.

ASM #12 demonstrates from the very first panel that Dan Slott does not know how to strip his own politics from the book to provide a superior (no pun intended) product.

If you, dear reader, were to become the CEO of a major company, then you would have no problem buying a nice tuxedo for black tie events. If attending charity fundraisers was a recurring obligation you had as CEO of “Successful Business Dude Inc.,” then taking time out of your schedule to rent and return cheap suits would be bizarre.

Dan Slott’s Peter Parker, however, embraces the bizarre and as a result becomes, for all intents and purposes, politically aligned with corporate saboteur Ghost.

ASM12 Parker Harry

Only moments before Ghost attacks his fundraiser, Parker equates buying cheap suits with doing business “right.” Instead of being a CEO who finds a proper balance between thriving in a cutthroat industry and giving back to local communities, he possesses a mentality that is one step removed from the villain calling him a “fat cat” member of “the one percent.”

In short, Peter Parker can be a CEO without becoming self-loathing about it. I suggest Dan Slott read up on Tony Robbins if he wants a good blueprint for how to write about business and finance.

ASM12 Ghost

Finally, one cannot talk about ASM #12 without covering the return of MJ.

ASM12 Stark MJ

“I can face Doctor Doom or the Juggernaut. Easy,” says Peter Parker. “But knowing you’re right there, MJ … and with Tony Stark? Everything’s wrong. It shouldn’t be like this,” (emphasis added).

Indeed, long-time fans of ASM would concur that MJ locking arms with Tony Stark at a party is wrong. Likewise, seeing Stark cradle her head while asking if she is okay during an attack feels gross. Dan’s Slott’s decision is to have Peter react to the meeting by a.) first freezing up at the podium, and then b.) calling Pepper Potts and offering her a job at Parker Industries. She rejects the offer without hesitation.

Question: Is that really how Peter would react?

Answer: He would obviously be upset at seeing MJ with another man, but it seems sad and unacceptable to have him respond with a kind of impotence and immaturity that would signal she is better off with Stark.

One shudders to think of the indignities to come as Marvel writers explore the professional (as of now) relationship between MJ and Tony.

Invincible Iron Man #8: ‘Ninjas and robots and Rhodey…oh my!’


Say what you want about Brian Michael Bendis, but the man’s self-awareness is better than 95 percent of the rest of the writers employed by Marvel. When he knows a particular story is open to criticism, he tends to find ways to subtly acknowledge the problem within the issue as a way of disarming bloggers like yours truly.

Take, for example, Invincible Iron Man #8, which is bursting at the seams with all it’s trying to accomplish. It is busy, busy, busy — but at one point Spider-Man says of the situation, “Ninjas and robots and Rhodey in his embarrassing boxers, oh my!”

Touché, Mr. Bendis. Touché.

For those who have not been reading the story, it goes as follows: Tony Stark offered a job to Mary Jane, Rhodey disappeared in Japan trying to find bio-hacking ninjas, and Spider-Man was called to help find him.

IIM #8, again, is a very busy issue. Mary Jane appears to walk away from Stark’s job offer (we know that won’t last), Iron Man and Spider-Man look for Rhodey, and it all culminates in a battle involving a horde of ninjas and a gigantic Iron-Man-inspired suit that utilizes mysterious technology.

Question: Is it a good issue?

Answer: Yes — with one minor caveat.

The problem with writers who take on Tony Stark and Peter Parker is that sometimes they use the sarcasm button too many times in a single issue. Yes, both men are masters at the one-liner. Yes, both men use sarcasm to mask all sorts of fears and insecurities, but it is possible to overdo it. Using such a trait when it’s uncalled for makes a character come across as a jerk. Luckily for Bendis, he realizes that one way to add extra gravity to the book is to find a situation so dangerous that it finally shuts Tony up.

IronMan8 Tony

Whoever this new villain is, he or she found a way to leave Tony speechless by the last page. It was a welcome surprise after countless panels of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Rhodey all basically blowing off what appeared to be a serious opponent.

In many ways IIM #8 was going to succeed or fail based upon what happened on the final page, and it is safe to say that Bendis … detonated it.

IM8 explosion

Invincible Iron Man continues to be one of Marvel’s most carefully crafted books. If you want stories by a “writer’s writer,” then you should check out Bendis. If you want “nuke the fridge” moments reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, then I suggest checking out Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man.

Bendis Bonus:

If you’re like me, then you were glad to see that Bendis seems to feel the same way about Spider-Man’s stupid glowing spider on the new suit. In response to finding out that Iron Man’s suit has A.I., Spider-Man says, “Cool. My spider glows now for no apparent reason.”


IronMan SpiderMan



Bendis’ Iron Man: Strong MJ by Tony’s side is bittersweet for Spider-Man fans

Mary Jane Iron Man 5

Invincible Iron Man #5 is an issue Mary Jane fans need to read, if for no other reason than to remind themselves just how bizarre it is for Dan Slott not to utilize her in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Regular readers of the book know that Tony Stark has been trying to figure out why Madam Masque is on a hunt for mystical artifacts. He eventually tracks her down inside MJ’s new nightclub, “Jackpot,” in Chicago on its opening night.

The verdict: Madam Masque is possessed by a demon, which will require a team effort between Tony and Doctor Doom to save her life.

“Jackpot” is predictably destroyed before the confrontation is over.

Madam Masque

As many fans expected, Tony offers to pay for the damage incurred during his fight. MJ, however, says the “P.R. nightmare” has rendered her club-owning days “kablooey.”

While this is a specious claim in a universe where superheroes and supervillains exist, Bendis does a good job selling it to the reader. Tony finds MJ in a park and offers her a job as his über-assistant/life coach.

This is a bit more problematic given MJ’s first line of dialogue in the issue:

“Superheroes. Again. Every time. Every time a superhero shows up in my life, I have to start over.”

Would a woman who resents the impact superheroes have on her life become Tony Stark’s personal assistant? Perhaps — if she thought about it for a long time and decided that her fate was intrinsically linked with superheroes. But it would take a skilled writer to pull off the idea. Luckily for Bendis, he fits the bill.

MJ Tony Stark

Spider-Man fans will also find MJ’s assertion that she is at her “lowest point” in life rather dubious. When Tony questions the validity of her claim, she replies, “Well, tell that to my soul.”

Was Bendis alluding to the infamous One More Day storyline? Indeed, MJ’s “soul” would agree with Tony — it lost its mate, Peter Parker.

In short, Bendis’ handling of MJ in this issue is proof once again that the devil-dealing “medicine” supported by Tom Brevoort was poison.

Seeing MJ well-written in Invincible Iron Man is a bitter pill to swallow, but it most certainly is not poison.

Renew Your Vows 5: Dan Slott’s saccharin spider-family takes on bland Regent

Mary Jane Parker RYV Mom

The final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows has finally arrived, but borderline diabetics may need to withhold their cash. Dan Slott ends his defacto “What if … the Parker family lived in an Orwellian police state ruled by a super-powered despot?” with plenty of sugary sap — and cheese.

SpiderMan Parkers Renew Your Vows

Renew Your Vows continues a trend for Mr. Slott, which is that he has a tough time at the finish. If he were a baseball player for the New York Yankees, then he would not be a closing pitcher. It’s almost as if he’s saying, “Let’s wrap it up. Wrap it up. Wrap it up-up-up-up-up! Love and happiness, strength and family, yadda, yadda, yadda — those plot holes never happened.”

SpiderMan Regent RYV ASM

It was only one issue ago that Regent was using telekinesis to immobilize Peter Parker and Sandman with a thought, perhaps the mere seed of a thought. He was, for all intents and purposes, a god. And yet, because the script calls for a “love conquers all”-type ending, readers are supposed to cheer its slap-dash construction.

Perhaps one of the weirdest moments comes when MJ turns to Peter at the end of the tale and says, “I have to know…if our daughter was in real danger, would you have killed him?”

Mary Jane Parker Renew Your Vows

Regent took out all of the Avengers. He took out almost every superhero in existence. And yet, a small child who just randomly decided to rush into battle against him was apparently never in any “real” danger. That begs the question: Then why should readers have bothered to care?

Renew Your Vows had some fine moments. Dan Slott hit a “home run” with the second issue and performed adequately in the third and fourth installments. Regardless, the story ended up as little more than a sweet treat for fans who wanted to see a few flashes of “Parker power.”

Buy the issue if you’ve already followed it this far, but make sure to have an insulin injection nearby.

Renew Your Vows #2: Dan Slott hits a rare home run, proves Tom Brevoort’s ‘medicine’ was poison

Renew Your Vows 2 SpiderManBaseball fans know just how fun it is to watch a pitcher hit a home run. Likewise, comic fans can stand up and cheer because Dan Slott, despite going 0-25 in his last 25 at bats, finally knocked one out of the park with issue #2 of Renew Your Vows. He bumped his batting average up to .038 with one home run. He also managed to expose once and for all how Tom Brevoort’s “medicine” (i.e., his comments on the decision to end Peter Parker’s marriage to MJ) was in fact poison.

Tom Brevoort Twitter OMDA lot of people joked about Annie’s name when it was first revealed, likening it to a cheap take on “Little Orphan Annie” because of her red hair, but after reading issue #2 of Renew Your Vows it is hard not think of her like a super-powered Anne Frank.

Just as the Frank family had to go into hiding during World War II, so too must the Parker family. An evil dictator with a penchant for genetic testing once controlled Germany and sought subjects on whom he could experiment; likewise, Regent hunts down a minority group — superheroes — and kills or experiments on them. If all of this was on accident, then Dan Slott stumbled onto a powerful accident. If the parallels were purposeful, then at least with this issue he did an stellar job.

On almost every level, the second issue of Renew Your Vows works.

  • Peter struggles with nightmares linked with having killed Eddie Brock (Venom), just as any cop or soldier might.
  • The dialogue between the entire family is touching and emotional.
  • Peter springs into action and acts like a true hero. He exudes grit and determination.
  • Mary Jane becomes the mother everyone knows she would have been — if it weren’t for Tom Brevoort’s “medicine.”
  • Annie is intriguing, and her reactions to Peter’s heroics touch anyone who once watched their own parents come through in a difficult situation.

All of this begs the question: Why has Marvel denied readers these kinds of stories — for years? Why has Marvel pretended like readers could not relate to a married Peter Parker when this issue proves them incredibly wrong?

Yes, it’s true: Dan Slott wrote an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man that is, for all intents and purposes, flawless.

It is inexplicable that fans have had to deal with man-child Peter Parker, the death of Peter Parker, and “Please-help-me-Silk-and-Anna-Maria” Peter Parker when Dan Slott could have been writing about Peter Parker the grown man, who is trying to raise his super-powered daughter with a strong woman by his side.

Come out for a curtain call and tip your hat, Dan Slott. You earned it. But as you return to the dugout, I highly suggest telling your team manager that he should stop administering his preferred “medicine.”